"Reflexology is a non-invasive complementary modality involving the use of alternating pressure applied to the reflexes within the reflex maps of the body located on the feet, hands and outer ears."
-Reflexology Association of America, 2006.
Some people confuse Reflexology with Massage, but they are two different modalities--each with its own strengths. Both, like many other therapies, such as chiropractics, osteopathy, and other somatic practices, involve the use of the hands to apply their techniques. The aim with both Reflexology and massage is to enhance the well being of the client.
|Applied to specific areas (usually feet, hands and ears) To promote a response from an area far removed from the tissue stimulated via the nervous systems and acupuncture meridians.||Applied to the whole body; muscles and connective tissue locally for local benefit, or when applied to muscles located all over the body, benefits the entire body.|
|Only the footwear comes off, as only the feet, hands, and ears are touched.||You undress (to your comfort level), as most of the body is touched.|
|Uses small muscle movements primarily thumbs and fingers are used.||Uses large muscle movement. Hands (either opened or closed) and sometimes feet, arms and elbows.|
|To improve the function of organs and glands, and all systems of the body. Works with the function of the body. Primarily to change the soft tissue directly stimulated.||
Works with the structure of the body.
|Total body relaxation leading to the balancing of all internal and external body systems; improving circulation via stimulation to the nervous and subtly energy systems.||
Local muscle relaxation or if the entire body is massaged then to muscular system improving circulation and reducing muscular tension.
It is not necessary for Reflexology practitioners to study working on a naked body when all they work on are the feet, hands, and ears of a fully clothed person.
©1997 American Reflexology Certification Board
Today, recent research studies have been conducted around the world, including in the US, which are validating the effectiveness of Reflexology on a wide variety of conditions. Chronic conditions seem to respond especially well to Reflexology. In China, where Reflexology is accepted by the central government as a means of preventing and curing diseases and preserving health, over 300 research studies have shown Reflexology provided some improvement to 95% of the over 18,000 cases covering 64 illnesses studied. In Japan and Denmark, Reflexology has been incorporated into the employee health programs of several large corporations, saving each company thousands of dollars annually in paid sick leave benefits.
Many of our health problems can be linked to stress. It is an acknowledged fact by the medical community that a body trying to function while under the influence of prolonged stress is less capable of organizing its defenses against illnesses and repair damage caused by injury. Stress can be mentally, emotionally, physically or environmentally induced.
Reflexology is primarily a relaxation technique. Reflexology can negate the effects of stress while it helps the body relax and balance. Through the relaxation process, the body is more capable of dealing with the stresses on it by daily living and those associated with illness. Reflexology gently nudges the body toward better functioning by improving lymphatic drainage and venous circulation, stimulation to the nerve pathways and muscle relaxation, helping the body to balance itself.
While historically Reflexology has anecdotally been found to have a positive effect on the body suffering from a wide variety of chronic problems, it is not a panacea for all ills. Reflexology is not a substitute for medical treatment, but can be used as a complement to any type of medical approach or therapy. Reflexology can also be incorporated into an overall healthy lifestyle, which includes attention to diet, moderate exercise and different forms of stress reduction.
- Reflexology Association of America (RAA): http://www.raa-usa.org
- American Reflexology Certification Board (ARCB): http://www.arcb.net
- International Council of Reflexologists (ICR): www.icr-reflexology.org
All information provided by RAA & ARCB. Thank you very much!